New Chelsea signing Hakim Ziyech has been urged to seek “revenge” on Tottenham for his old club Ajax.
The Morocco star admitted the “crazy” away-goals defeat in the 2019 Champions League semi-final to Spurs was still “painful”.
The Dutch side won the first leg and went two goals up in the return when Ziyech scored before Lucas Moura netted a late hat-trick to send the North London side to the final.
And Ziyech, who joined the West London club this summer in a £33m deal, said he has been driven on by the memory of the defeat – and told to seek redress against a local rival.
“What can I say about that?” said the £33m summer signing. “A child’s dream was stolen. It is hard, it is painful. It is crazy what happened at that time at that point. It is hard to accept.
“For me personally I think we deserved to go to the final but in the end you don’t always get what you deserve. You have to take that as a lesson and I did. Now I know always that the game is not over until the referee whistles.
“It helped me improve, to never give up. And people, even in Holland, they say: ‘Now you can take revenge on Tottenham’. But as a player you always want to win, it doesn’t matter who it is. Even if it is Tottenham or whoever, you just want to win the game.”
And he said he will bring the same street-football toughness which saw him clash with legend Marco Van Basten to Stamford Bridge.
Dutch assistant coach Van Basten branded Ziyech “stupid” when he opted to play for Morocco instead of the Netherlands.
The former Milan star looked less clever when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and Morocco went to Russia.
“At the end of the day it’s my life it’s not his,” said Ziyech. “That was just the way I was looking at it and I am not afraid to have my opinion and I always speak from my heart and what I am feeling I am just saying. I don’t really care what people think about.”
Ziyech, who learned his skills in the street and prefers playing as a No.10, added: “Things that happened in the past when I was younger, all this stuff when you’re playing on the streets, it makes you hard as a person.”
The Morocco star was signed in February but a knee injury has limited him so far to two appearances off the bench. “The season is still long, there are still a lot of games,” he said.
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